Bill to repeal bulb ban introduced

Several prominent Vermont environmentalists, including Middlebury College's Bill McKibben, were in the forefront of a contriversial U.S. 2007 energy independenct/climate change bill. The bill championed the use of compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, over incandescent bulbs-but now another U.S. House bill may repeal the "ban" on the Edison light bulb and return exported jobs to the U.S.

Three U.S. representatives have introduced H.R. 6144, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB.

The BULB Act repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory.

•Most CFLs are not manufactured in the U.S. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., ending 200 jobs in the process.

•CFLs contain the heavy metal mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.

•CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.

•People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that has been claimed to lead to skin cancer.

•The Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke gases including mercury vapor.

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